The four-team tournament was inaugurated on Monday in Kalyani, West Bengal.

As India prepares to host its second-ever FIFA World Cup, India’s U-17 women footballers are currently playing in Hero U-17 Women’s Championship to stake their claim to be a part of the Indian squad which will represent the country in the mega event. Former Indian Women’s Football Team star Bembem Devi and India U-15 Women’s Football Team coach Alex Ambrose too expressed their views on the tournament.

With just less than a year left, four teams – the Lionesses, the Panthers, the Tigresses and the Cheetahs – are now competing against each other in the unique competitive tournament in Kalyani, West Bengal. The tournament is perhaps the best scouting platform as the players are being closely watched by the coaching staff of the India U-17 Women’s Football Team, as they look to build the best squad ahead of the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

“It’s a huge thing that these girls will get to play in a tournament like this. Not to forget that the tournament is being live telecast on Star Sports Network on prime time for all to have a look. They need to know that when they represent the country, the nation will also rally in their support,” said Alex Ambrose.

The tournament is being broadcasted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali by the Star Sports Network.

“It is a unique tournament where we will get to see so many players from across the country showcase their talent. Thomas (Dennerby) is also here assessing all the players and I think it could go a long way in helping us shape the team for the World Cup,” he added.

The tournament is a step ahead from the normal scouting process where scouted players are put through in a camp for them to show their credentials.

Indian Women’s Footballing legend Bembem Devi, the ‘Durga of Indian Football,’ is also in charge of one of the teams in the tournament. She believes that with a year to go for the World Cup, this is the right time to host this tournament, as it would give talented players a platform to showcase their talent.

“We have just about a year to go, the Hero U-17 Women’s Championship could help bring into focus a number of talented girls. This could only help the India U-17 team that would play in the World Cup, as it could help the coach have a bigger pool of players to pick from, and competition for places is always a great motivator for the players to improve themselves,” said Bembem.

She further went on to state that Women’s Football in India has grown over the last few years, and more concentration on youth tournaments will only help in the long run.

“Of course, such initiatives are great for the girls who want to play football at the top level when they grow up. Over the last few years, Women’s Football has improved by leaps and bounds. We now have a professional league that has already supplied the National Team with so many players,” she maintained.

“On top of that we now have a tournament where the younger girls can showcase their talent. It really helps to spot the talented players and groom them for the future.”

“I am sure that they will look at this kind of events and look to learn from the experience of playing under pressure. They need to look past the pressure, focus on the game, and try to be as successful as possible,” concluded Bembem Devi.